Firing of Kokinis Sends Confusing Message

How should fans interpret the team's decision to fire their "General Manager"? Perhaps the guy wearing the foam bone on his head knows! It's just another Bye Week in Cleveland, where football weirdness goes year-round.

If the Cleveland Browns are looking to further befuddle an already angry fan base, they're going about it very successfully.

For those just tuning in to this year's edition of the Cleveland Browns, as produced and directed by head coach Eric Mangini, be aware that they possess an offense so anemic that it has been outscored by the New Orleans Saints defense (which has played one less game). They have a starting quarterback, Derek Anderson, who is on track to have the lowest quarterback rating of any NFL starting quarterback in history. The receivers can't catch the ball, as the team has turned dropping passes into an art.

This disaster has been orchestrated by the team's head coach Eric Mangini, who has his fingerprints on everything from player moves, to offensive strategy, to which murals are displayed on walls in the team's facility, to which individuals are allowed to wander the team's sidelines during home games, to the type of filters used in coffee machines throughout the Berea, Ohio facility.  

So, to address this situation, the team has let go their travel coordinator and a General Manager, George Kokinis, who was considered to have the role in name only. A person who was so far out of the organizational loop that, according to many in the know, he was unaware that the Browns had traded Braylon Edwards to the New York Jets until he saw a report on television about it.

If Kokinis was more involved, it would certainly come as a surprise to the media following the franchise. Kokinis, the man contractually charged with the final say on the composition of the 53-man roster, has not spoken to the media since the draft way back in April of this year. The organization has been completely silent on contract situations with two rare productive veterans on their roster: KR Josh Cribbs and PK Phil Dawson.

Think about that.  The person with the most contractual power in the organization has been seen -- barely -- but not heard from in well over six months, while whispers indicated that he had little say in the decisions made regarding the franchise.

So, you have an executive who appears to have had his decision-making manhood circumcised by an ego-driven, detail-obsessed head coach hellbent on becoming the next Bill Belichick, and you make the exec the sacrificial lamb for a series of mistakes and missteps that he played no major role in executing.  

Makes perfect sense.

In most organizations, a move is made in order to improve the long-term health of the organizational machine.  In Randy Lerner's auto repair shop, they're fully content with removing a busted mirror on a car with no wheels, no transmission and no motor.  

Simply put, this entire situation is an embarrassment to the NFL in general and to the fans of a once proud and storied franchise in particular.  And not just for the Kokinis firing itself.  That's far from the worst of the damage wrought by this decision.  No, additional seats at the table of embarrassment have been reserved for the handling of the aftermath of the "parting of ways".

Aside from one obtuse statement from the organization Monday evening which stated Kokinis "is no longer actively involved with the organization", not one single, solitary person has come out to explain the stunning turn of events, or to suggest who is now in charge of the team's roster.  Mangini, the only mouthpiece this organization has had during his reign of blundering terror, refused to discuss the situation in any type of detail during his regularly-scheduled press conference with the local media Tuesday.  

The only other person who wields more authority than the head coach, camera-shy owner Randy Lerner, was too busy meeting for two hours this morning with a pair of fans who used to attend home games dressed as french fries during the Charlie Frye Era and are now attempting to organize some half-baked "protest" for the Monday Night game against the Ravens.

Yes, that's right.  Lerner will meet with grown men who play dress-up in fast food costumes, but will not talk to fans in general or address the media -- who by all accounts would be dressed as normal people -- regarding the most important move the organization has made in the last ten months.

It's just another normal day in Cleveland, where two decades of despair show no signs of abating anytime soon.

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